Sara Whitman

Revenue, Revenue, Revenue

Filed By Sara Whitman | August 02, 2011 8:00 AM | comments

Filed in: Politics
Tags: American economy, debt ceiling, fiscal policy, global recession, US recession

A couple of quick questions:

Are we in a recession?

Do tax cuts create jobs?

Who wanted to cut 1 trillion plus dollars from Social Security?

I ask these questions because it's important to think about the frame - the overall frame the American public have about our economy and economic situation. People are quick to blame Obama for the mess we are in, and I find it so wrong, I can barely sit in my seat.

It's like staring at a penny and thinking you met Lincoln.

We are not in a recession. I know it feels like it, smells like it, our newspapers constantly hammer on it, but we are not. The GDP is growing and that means, no recession. It's not about feelings, people. It's about numbers.

Tax cuts have not ever created jobs. Not ever. As Barney Frank said this morning, a tax cut has never built a bridge. I don't know what kind of kool-aid the Republicans have been drinking for 30 years, but it doesn't work.

Republicans wanted to cut over a trillion dollars off Social Security. Hey, Grandma, how's that Alpo? I wonder if they even remember why it was created. In 1935, FDR signed the act to act as insurance to our elderly, to widows, for fatherless children. It was saying, Hey, we're all in this together. Because in 1935, we were. It was about lifetimes of work being rewarded with a safety net at a time when there were no safety nets at all.

People were starving. Money wasn't tight, it was gone. Imagine going to the ATM and having it say, oops. Sorry. You put it in but, it's not there anymore.

Think it couldn't happen again? Think again.

Oh, we have new economic models! I hear people saying. Really? Like that nifty one that said invest everything in stocks that don't give out dividends, with price ratios that were beyond the imagination, but everything is new and different? That was the internet bubble of the late 90's. Guess what? Didn't work out. What happened? Oh, that crazy thing called history repeated itself.

Obama has been in office for two years. He inherited the Bush tax cuts. When I first heard of the Bush tax cuts, when Bush was first proposing them, it was from an economist who said, This is an attempt to defund the federal government. To extinguish it, minus the military, forever.

That is Obama's fault?

Two wars, outrageous tax cuts (mostly for the wealthy), interests rates so low why would anyone think of saving, mad spending, real estate bubble, bad mortgage after bad mortgage (what? have no money? of course you can get a 500k house!), and we were on the brink of collapse.

You think those Republicans voted for TARP because they liked it? No, because if they didn't, they'd never see office again.

Was it perfect? No. But unemployment benefits were extended, social security saved, along with medicare, medicaid, and military veterans were no longer being tossed from their foreclosed homes while serving the country.

We are no longer in a recession. When you think that? I want you to go to the mirror, look yourself in the eye and ask, How much did welfare cost the government?

Or, what is the biggest export from the rainforest?

Your answers will surprise you. And the truth? Make you realize you've been brainwashed.

We need revenues, people. We need money to pay off debt, to invest in our people, our infrastructure, to create jobs. Bridge building creates jobs. Having money to hire teachers in schools, creates jobs.

Imagine a program that built public buildings and roads, that operated large drama, arts, media, and literacy projects. That fed children, redistributed food, clothing and housing. That created jobs and a flow of money to those in need of both.

Hmmmm. Oh, that would be the WPA- Works Progress Administration.

That requires revenue.

And a belief that the American people mean something. All Americans.

The only "T" word we should ever use again is Transgender. The other one is gone. Don't even whisper it at night in your dreams.

Obama took Social Security, Medicaid and Medicare off the chopping block. We are in debt so far over our heads, it makes your own personal credit cards look simple. The time for more revenue is here.

Obama came into office and immediately solved a crisis. It was a bandaid. He then did more for LGBT civil rights than any President ever in the history of our country. Can we have his back? Please?

We are not in a recession. Tax cuts do not create jobs. Republicans are happy to send Grandma out for Alpo.

Watch carefully, listen carefully. You think Obama has let you down? Go re-read all that's been done. Then re-read the Bush years.

You are being played by carefully orchestrated frames of reference.

Welfare cost less than 2% of any budget. Not 50, not 30, not 10. Rubber is the largest export- not wood for paper or construction.

Sometimes what we believe to be true, isn't true at all.

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Aubrey Haltom | August 2, 2011 10:31 AM

I agree with you that Republicans have been playing with the facts. But I have to disagree with you re: your assessment of Obama.

You sight a need for revenue - so how does Obama's capitulation to Republican talking points on the debt ceiling help us raise revenue?

Where in this deal does Obama leave space for the most basic of revenue 'enhancers' - an end to the Bush tax cuts? He's caved twice now, in the span of a few months, when he had public support. What in this debt ceiling deal is going to provide revenue? The only door open is one to further cut spending, including Soc. Sec., Medicare, etc...

I'll quote Krugman's article from 7/31/11 on Obama's 'surrender' - "In fact Republicans will surely be emboldened by the way Mr. Obama keeps folding in the face of their threats. He surrendered last December, extending all the Bush tax cuts; he surrendered in the spring when they threatened to shut down the government; and he has now surrendered on a grand scale to raw extortion over the debt ceiling."

It seems obvious to me that Obama has only one thing in mind - somehow winning re-election in 2012. And to do that he appears willing to sacrifice any progressive/even liberal thought in his body to go further to the right. It's a sad case of 'the end justifies the means...'

As if all that matters to the White House is getting Obama re-elected. All legislative, judicial and/or political decisions have to further that end. That seems to me to be the 'end-all' of White House thought.

The Democrats actually control the Senate and the Presidency. Yet it seems the Republicans are the ones driving the discussion. And what we get from Obama is an endless series of attempts to out-right the Republicans.

I'm sure I'll vote for Obama in '12. But it's not with enthusiasm, and it's definitely not with 'hope'.

As for myself, I will no longer support this administration! Or any politician that does not preserve our social safety net, which the repugs commonly refer to as "entitlements" NOT! I payed into this with a lifetime of work, and now, I am pretty sure that what has gone on with this debacle is a complete erasure of the safety net within a few years. I prefer 9 lives to Alpo...just sayin'

I agree with you that this mess was not Obama's creation, and that increased revenues are essential to getting us out of it. But as I understand it, the deal the House passed and that is before the Senate at this moment does not call for a single dollar of increased revenue. Even worse, it kicks deeper cuts down the road to a "Commission" who will decide where to cut next.

No, I think he failed on this, and I think he failed back in December when he agreed to extend the Bush tax cuts. That was his moment to show he had the cojones for the job, and he declined to do so.

I agree, Sue. The president has reminded me of a man who wants to play tennis but only has a racquet.

Brad Bailey | August 2, 2011 3:51 PM

Obama continued the wars in the Middle East in spite of his campaign promise to end them. He continued to bail out Wall St. He continued the Bush tax cuts.

He shares just as much or more of the blame for our country's credit debt as Bush.

Mark Fiore captured Obama like no one else has. Here's his cartoon from the days of the tax extension of December 2010: Obama's Dojo

It is this very capitulation that was the last straw that turned me against him as a voter. The latest negotiations are more confirmation that Obama does not have the spine to do that which is right and should be done. How many more voters will he lose over the next 15 months due this lack of spine?

You're right, we're not in a recession. Mostly because the definition for a recession is bloody stupid. We are still hurting economically. Obama did not solve a crisis, he covered it up. The vast majority of Americans are worse off then we were when he took office. Only a few ultrarich are doing better, but because of how wealth is distributed, it makes it look like everything is pristine.